The Astrodome at last has a new purpose, the managers of Reliant Park have announced. The 47-year-old flexible sports stadium will serve as a storage facility for neighboring Reliant Stadium’s new $1.2 million new-generation AstroTurf when it’s not being used on the Houston Texans’ home field. Reliant Stadium’s actual-grass-on-trays field will now be reserved for professional football; the artificial surface will be rolled out there for high-school and college football games and other events.
In the 13 years since the last professional sports team abandoned it, the vacant Astrodome has gained considerable experience as a carpet warehouse — though in recent visits to the unused dome its own AstroTurf surface has looked somewhat run-down. The dome will be storing 59 separate strips of Reliant Stadium’s new AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Xtreme, a 2-layer playing surface of polyurethane fibers above a plastic base peppered with pulverized-rubber “dirt.” Each strip weighs 7,000 to 8,000 pounds and has a velcro base. The first AstroTurf debuted in 1966 in the Astrodome.
- Reliant Stadium adds AstroTurf with state title games in mind [Ultimate Texans]
- Reliant Stadium To Host Additional Events And Boost Economic Impact With Installation Of Removable AstroTurf System [PRNewswire]
- Astrodome coverage [Swamplot]
- Previously on Swamplot: What I Saw When I Snuck Inside the Astrodome
Photos: Russell Hancock (Astrodome), AstroTurf (GameDay Grass)
Glad to see the 8th Wonder of the World is still with us and being used in a productive fashion.
Well of course. Some more of that “original & creative” thinking from the tired old suits downtown. No wonder the Dome is sitting there rotting.
So the astrodome is now the worlds largest self storage?
It has been about three years since I was V.P. of the company trying to convince Harris County to let us use the Astrodome as a movie production studio. at that time, my research into costs of sprucing up the building’s exterior revealed that plain old pressure washing could make a huge difference in the outside appearance. The company I consulted,specialists at cleaning large scale commercial buildings – like international airports – said it could be done for $500,000 or under. While that is a lot of money to most of us, it is not much compared to the negative P.R. “black eye” that our dirty and forloin-looking icon gives Houston. If only the Harris County Commissioners, the true stewards of the Dome, would clean up the exterior and do some landscape refreshing perhaps the grand old building would not appear so neglected to the rest of the world. While the interior still has grand promise, if only temporarily as a storage facilty, the county should invest in putting the Astrodome’s best “face” forward until its future use is determined. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t read about the Dome in the national media and blogs and it usually includes a negative nod to its appearance. This is something that CAN be done without a referendum!
Cynthia Neely: That is a great idea! I had never thought of that at all. It would make a huge difference in appearance.
I hope that Houstonians–and Harris Countians, it’s a county park after all–can find that can-do, don’t take no, get-er-done spirit that the media pump out at us daily and direct it at the Astrodome. I am confident that there is a set of solutions for this property that will serve the larger communities(s), the long term tenants and Houston’s leadership in education, tourism and technology. I can already hear the chorus of ifs and buts, but the Houston way is to just do it.